giovedì 11 settembre 2014

Pompeii to host opera festival

Culture minister weighs bringing contemporary art, music to site

(ANSA) - Rome, September 10 - The ancient Roman city of Pompeii is set to rock once more - this time to the strains of opera. Pompeii's newly reopened open-air theater, the scene of a landmark Pink Floyd concert more than 40 years ago, is soon to be the setting for the latest brainchild of the Italian culture ministry, the Pompeii Festival. Performances of Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme and Georges Bizet's Carmen will light up the ancient arena on September 18 and 20 respectively. The festival is a test drive for a possible summer opera series at the famed archaeological site. "The two nights in Pompeii are part of a larger development project for one of the most beautiful and evocative archaeological sites in the world," Culture Minister Dario Franceschini told ANSA. "We would also like to bring contemporary art, theater, and music," said Franceschini, citing the 1972 Pink Floyd event, Live in Pompeii, as an inspiration.

In Franceschini's eyes, the Pompeii opera project aims to be the engine of wider tourism growth in the region of Campania around Naples, many of whose gems are under-exploited. The ministry said it was "pulling out all the stops" to enhance cultural tourism in Campania. Franceschini in July pledged to catch up on delays in restoring and revamping Pompeii under an ambitious 105-million-euro Great Pompeii Project safeguarding the unique site created when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, preserving the entire city in ash.

In April, heavy rains led to several reports of collapsed walls soon after UNESCO warnings that the miraculously preserved ancient city could "completely fall apart" and lose its world heritage status unless urgent action was taken. That triggered government pledges to speed up tendering for work on other new surveillance and protection measures for the site. There has been a long and worrying catalogue of bits of Pompeii falling off. For example, in November 2010 the House of the Gladiators came down, prompting Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to say: "This is a disgrace for the whole of Italy". The opera project follows years of successful sound and light spectacles using the evocative ruins as backdrop. The shows, dubbed Pompeii Moons, run from the first weekend in May until the last weekend in October.

Italy's first 'son-et-lumiere' tours, they kicked off to immediate acclaim in 2002 and have proved a big hit ever since. The tours climax in the Forum with a dramatic video re-enactment of the catastrophic eruption that buried the city and its lesser-known but equally fascinating neighbour Herculaneum. 

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